Rosalie loves to dance

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By Susan Palmes-Dennis

Straight from Carolinas

Saturday, March 1, 2014

WHILE attending a Zumbathon fundraiser in Charlotte, North Carolina for “Haiyan” supertyphoon victims in the Philippines, I came across a woman clad in light brown cargo pants and yellow shirt who moved to the upbeat music with such grace.

Deep inside I knew she must be the instructor. It was a delight to watch her dancing. I remembered someone say “just start dancing and the band will find out how to play with you.”

With that thought in mind, I followed her dance steps even if my mind and body was attuned to the dance steps I've learned in my close to five years of living here in North Carolina.


The petite instructor, Rosalie Kirkly, happens to be a Fil-American. Originally from Bacolod City in Negros Occidental, Rosalie started dancing when she was in first grade. She happened to remember her first dance, a hula number set to the tune of “Pearly Shells.”

She danced her way through elementary and high school. I remembered during my time that members of the dance troupe were pampered students since they would be excused from classes especially if there are school activities or visitors.

That time I wished I was with the dance troupe especially if the teacher gave exams to the class. Rosalie must be one of them in her school. It was probably because dancing didn't like me that I began to absorb academics.

Sorry for being nostalgic, since I saw in Rosalie what I would have wanted to do during my early years.

Anyway Rosalie came to North Carolina in 1985 and she forgot all about dancing until she found a Zumba class in a church that she was a member in. Right then, she re-kindled her love for dancing.

Her passion for dancing was revived just in time because she lost her first husband then and looked for something to keep her busy. Rosalie also read and ran, but dancing was a different diversion.

She happens to read books written by James Patterson and any books of the same genre. Rosalie didn't need to be asked by the Zumba instructor to be in front during classes.

I can only assume that the instructor saw Rosalie's genuine passion in her dancing which I also saw in the Zumbathon here in Charlotte last Feb. 8.

There are born dancers, though dancing can be learned and acquired through intensive training. But natural grace is something else. Rosalie is a licensed dance instructor here in North Carolina.

She used to hold classes three times a week but later stopped because of scheduling and would spend time with husband Darell. A little throwback; Rosalie said her love for dancing stemmed from her parents' love for ballroom dancing.

Rosalie said she remembered that every weekend her parents would have a show for their five children so all of them developed a knack in dancing.

“I don't have a class as of now but I'm looking for the opportunity to teach again. I do zumba at home at least twice a week and run in other days as time permits,” Rosalie said.

But Rosalie prefers zumba as she considers it a perfect exercise. According to Wikipedia, zumba is a popular fitness program inspired by Latin dance. The word "zumba" comes from a Colombian word that means to move fast and have fun, which is just how people describe the routine.

“Using upbeat Latin music together with cardiovascular exercise, there is no secret to dancing I just love to dance. Dancing gives me a great feeling of freedom,” Rosalie said.

Rosalie was the president of the Filipino-American Association of the Carolinas (FACC) in 2010. In her watch numerous activities were held to unite the community.

It is but fitting that I write about her today –a woman of substance inside out as we start the celebration of Women’s Month in March. This year may be another special year for her. Purple is a lucky color in 2014, which also happens to be Rosalie's favorite color.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 01, 2014.


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